The University of Idaho began demolishing a house Thursday morning where four of its students were stabbed, denying pleas from the two victims' families and not waiting for evidence needed for a court case to be collected from the site.
NBC affiliate KTVB Boise and The Associated Press reported that demolition began Thursday morning.
The drilling sound of construction equipment rang out early in the morning, an excavator began demolishing the front of the house, and debris from the walls of the house was loaded into a dump truck, the AP reported.
The university, located in the western Idaho city of Moscow, announced plans to raze the three-story house in February as a “remedial step.” The homeowner donated it to the school after students Chana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mohan and Kaylee Goncalves were stabbed to death in November of last year.
But the Goncalves and Kernodle families said the demolition should be postponed pending the conclusion of the investigation, saying in a joint statement that evidentiary questions about the house remain unanswered. A hearing date has yet to be set.
“We all love only the King [Road] The house should not be demolished until the trial is over and we have a trial date so we can expect justice to be served. Is that too much to ask?” the Goncalves and Kernodle families said in the statement.
The families included a list of questions they said were not answered in the current evidence collection, including what the other roommates were hearing from inside the house, what windows the suspect could see from where the suspect was parked outside, and how the suspect could get to them. In and out without anyone seeing him?
“We certainly appreciate that there is a lot of emotion involved in house demolition, and nowhere is that felt more than in families. But we feel strongly that now is the right time to move forward with the healing that comes with demolition,” the University of Idaho said in a Dec. 14 press release.
Latah County Prosecutor William Thompson said prosecuting attorneys and lead investigators expect no further use of the house because they have already collected measurements to create a presentation for the jury.
“Based on our review of Idaho case law, the current state of the campus is significantly different than at the time of the murders, a “jury view'' would not be recognized,” he said in a statement.
Defense attorneys for suspect Bryan Kohberger, who was arrested on Dec. 30 last year and charged with four counts of first-degree murder, also visited the home to gather evidence.
The FBI collected data from the home in late October that would allow it to create visual aids that could be used in the investigation, the university said in a press release.
The Goncalves and Kernodle families said the trial preview has been affected by the delay and called for a trial date to be scheduled. “This case must go forward!” Their statement said.
Germer Construction of Moscow will oversee the demolition, which the university said will take at least two days.
University President Scott Green said the house served as a “poignant reminder” of the murders inside, and that demolishing it would reduce further impact on students who live nearby.